The award is given to an individual to recognise their significant and sustained contribution to the teaching of the mathematical sciences at university level.
Lara completed a BSc and MSc in Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematics Education at the University of Warwick. She then began her career as an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, before returning to the UK in 2005 where she worked as a teaching fellow at Essex University. She joined Loughborough in 2007 and is based at the Mathematics Education Centre.
She conducts research on mathematical thinking and learning in undergraduates and experts, and is the author of three research-based study guides for mathematics students: How to Study for a Mathematics Degree, How to Think about Analysis and How to Think about Abstract Algebra. In 2017 she published the popular mathematics book Mathematics Rebooted: A Fresh Approach to Understanding.
In the official news story announcement about Dr Alcock being a recipient of the prize, the IMA stated: “Professor John Blake was an excellent mathematician who was passionate about high-quality mathematics teaching in higher education. Dr Lara Alcock is an excellent mathematics educationalist who shares the same passion and who has both directly and indirectly improved the learning of thousands of students in her own university, throughout the country and throughout the world.
“The IMA is convinced that Professor Blake would have wanted due recognition to be given to Dr Alcock’s work and that he would be delighted that Dr Alcock is the recipient of the inaugural John Blake University Teaching Medal.”
Dr Alcock commented: "I am delighted to receive this award, which came as a complete surprise. I have always believed that research in mathematics education can directly help mathematicians and students to understand one another and to communicate and learn more effectively, and the IMA has enabled me to do that via its conferences, workshops and Induction Course for New Lecturers. I am honoured that the organisation has chosen me for this inaugural award, and my thanks go to everyone involved in my nomination.”